High Stakes Math Tests

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High Stakes Math Tests. How NCLB leaves newcomer English language learners behind By W.E.Wright & X. Li. Presented by Morgan Pajo and Kaan Ustun. In a nutshell…. Introduction Challenges for ELLS in Learning Math through English Research participants & research site Methodology - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of High Stakes Math Tests

SLS 380

How NCLB leaves newcomer Englishlanguage learners behind

By W.E.Wright & X. Li

High Stakes Math TestsPresented by Morgan Pajo and Kaan UstunIn a nutshellIntroductionChallenges for ELLS in Learning Math through EnglishResearch participants & research siteMethodologySchool Efforts to assist Nitha & BoraStruggling with Math in the classroomLinguistic ComplexityOpportunity to learn Content AnalysisConclusion & Discussion

IntroductionNCLB: High stakes testing Including MathMost ELL Math Test in EnglishAnalysis of 5th Graders Cambodian students in Texas

Language demands of the test are beyond reasonable for newcomer students (p. 237)

Implications & needed changes to US Policy

IntroductionGrades 38 & High School Math, Reading & ScienceELL < 1 year Exclusion from Reading BUT not MathNCLB calls for Reasonable Accomodations

Valid & Reliable But not practicable

Reality is

What about students who dont speak English?

(Nailing down the TAKS, 2009)ChallengesTAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills)Major misconception: Math poses the least linguistic difficulty for ELLsMath = 3rd Language: Voc, Syntax, Semantics & DiscourseEx: Divisor, Denominator, quotient,Ex: Least common multipleNo one-to-one correspondenceWord order Multiple Reading Other challengesThere is a high correlation between English reading ability & performance on math tests given in English (Brown, 2005) (P.240)US == Home country

AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress)

ELLs Subgroup within NCLB

Expectations: Harmful & Unreasonable

Context of Research: Who, Where & WhatCountry: CambodiaLocation: Middle School in TexasParticipants: 2 Cambodian SistersEnglish Level: 1 year : Communicate at Basic LevelSchool: 590 students58 % White29 % Hispanic10 % African American2 % Asian & Pacific IslanderMethodology & AssistanceParticipant Observation; Interviews; Analysis of school documents; Analysis student work.Lexical Analysis of 5th Grade Math TAKS Test with Web Vocabulary ProfilerAmerican & Cambodian TextbooksDifferentiated instructionPull out English (ESL)L1 support & Weekly TutoringResults: Bora: 6/44 & Nitha: 7/44StrugglesAn analysis of the content of the students math school work in comparison with the TAKS test revealed their school work was far below the level of TAKS test. In addition, the TAKS assessed many concepts not covered in the girls school work (Wright & Li, 2008, p.243)

Multiple steps VS Single StepsLinguistic ComplexityMath has a language all its own, constituting as a third language (Brown, 2005)Unique vocabulary, syntax, semantic properties, and discourseQuotient, table, column, in total, altogether, etc. Word problems contain complex syntax and difficult lexical termsDifferent countries have different mathematical systems4,232.56 (USA) = 4.232,56 (Cambodia)One Math Problem A farmer brought watermelons to the market. He sold 15 melons for $54.75. It cost him $1.12 to grow and harvest each melon. How much profit did he make on the sale of one melon?

( 54.75 / 15 ) 1.12

What kind of knowledge is needed to solve word problems like this?Just a few featuresMath-specific termsOperative clue wordsExtra information Word-to-number translationSpecial math meanings for common wordsInfinitiveAttributive clausePassive voiceComparativeConditional clausePast participial phraseAdverbial clauseMultiple clausesObjective clauseGerundNegation in QSuperlative

Lexical Analysis A farmer brought watermelons to the market. He sold 15 melons for $54.75. It cost him $1.12 to grow and harvest each melon. How much profit did he make on the sale of one melon?

farmerbroughtwatermelon = melonmarketgrow and harvestsoldcostprofit saleLinguistic Complexity - Lexical FeaturesMath-specific academic wordsA rectangular prism made of 1-centimeter cubes is shown below. What is the volume of this rectangular prism?Absence of familiar clues for operationsIn our school there are 328 girls and 297 boys. How many children are there in our school all together?Converting words into numbers[Roses$1.00 each or $10.00 per dozen].Differences in meanings Which pair of eagle pictures shows a translation?Linguistic Complexity Syntactic FeaturesUse of infinitiveTo determine whether they are halfway to their goal of $450.00, what should the students do?Use of superlativesIf the shelf is 3 feet long, what is the greatest number of videotapes that Stella can store on the shelf?Negation in questionsWhich of the following combinations of supplies does she NOT have enough money to buy?Conditional clause + gerund + attributive clauseIf she picks a card without looking, what is the probability that it will have the letter S on it?

Math: Not just numbers


CITATION NEEDEDDiscussion QuestionsHow important is it for the teachers to understand the cultural background of their students in order to help them with NCLB testing?

What types of support would you as a teacher offer nonnative English speakers in order to pass the NCLB testing?

Where do the teachers assistance and responsibility begin and end with NCLB testing?

How should NCLB tackle the multiple language background issue?

ReferencesBrown, C. L. (2005). Equity of literacy-based math performance assessments for English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 29(2), 337364.Wright, W.E. & Li, X. (2008). High-stakes math tests: How No Child Left Behind leaves newcomer English language learners behind. Language Policy, 7, 237-266. doi: 10.1007/s10993-008-9099-2Department of Curriculum & Instruction (2009). Nailing down the TAKS. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.TAKS Released Tests, Answer Keys, and Scoring Guides: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/released-tests/

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